Here’s a conjunction used in a sentence:
- I drove to the mall, and I walked to the shoe store.
And joins the two clauses in the sentence together.
In this article, we will explore a similar, yet different part of speech: a conjunctive adverb. You can use them to create sentences that will make your writing (and speech) flow.
What are Conjunctive Adverbs?
To start, let’s talk about how a conjunctive adverb can be used.
- Conjunctive adverbs show the transition between independent clauses. They can be used at the beginning, end, or middle of an independent clause.
Here are a few examples:
- He knew it was a bad idea; still, he entered the room.
- They ran through the field; meanwhile, their associates distracted the guards.
- Julie fell asleep; then, she dreamed about a time when everything was easier.
- The teens celebrated the victory; moreover, they rushed the field and tore down the goal posts.
- Frodo threw the ring into the volcano; finally, the journey was complete.
Conjunctive adverbs are not conjunctions for three reasons:
- They do not have the strength of a conjunction and require extra punctuation (a period or a semicolon) when used to connect two independent clauses.
- They are optional. You can remove a conjunctive adverb with no effect on the correctness of the grammar in a sentence.
- Conjunctive adverbs can move around in a sentence.
- They don’t always require punctuation, as you’ll see later on in the section.
Let’s look at more examples of conjunctive adverbs:
- I wrote all night. I didn’t, however, finish my research paper.
- He ran all day. The boy, consequently, fell asleep on the couch.
- The girl searched the room. She found what she was looking for, eventually.
- The guards made their beds. They folded and tucked their sheets into each corner, accordingly.
See how you could remove the adverbs, and the sentences would still be grammatically correct?
- I wrote all night. I didn’t finish my research paper.
Also, notice that the conjunctive adverbs can move to different positions.
Ultimately, conjunctive adverbs help create fullness and transition between thoughts. You can use this tool in your writing or speech to elevate your English level and sound more like a native speaker.
So, when should we use commas with conjunctive adverbs? The answer is: in most cases.
However, sometimes the usage of the conjunctive adverb is considered a weak interruption. It means that the flow of the sentence doesn’t need to pause.
- Joe was very intelligent. He was therefore prone to moments of genius.
- Susan lived alone. She was indeed shocked when she spotted a shadowy figure in the corner of her room.
Unfortunately, there is no exact way to determine when the interruption is weak. You are free to make this decision, based on what you are trying to say.
Whenever you need a resource on common conjunctive adverbs and when to use them, see our comprehensive conjunctive adverbs list with examples below.
Conjunctive Adverbs List (with Examples)
Conjunctive Adverbs used to show addition:
- Sarah gathered most of the ingredients; in addition, she went back to the spice shop to be sure she had enough sage.
- She paced around the room; again, she looked at her watch.
- The boys built the foundation; next, they assembled the walls.
- The boy couldn’t help but stare. He noticed, also, that he had begun to drool.
- I’m not sure his heart is in the right place; further, I’m not sure that it ever was!
- The boy was late for school. He, furthermore, arrived with mud all over his clothes.
- I wasn’t satisfied with the job the painters did. Moreover, there was paint all over the floor.
Conjunctive Adverbs used to show comparison:
- I wasn’t sure where we stood on the matter. She likewise made a gesture of confusion.
- Looking at the two ladies, I couldn’t tell them apart. They wore, similarly, a black leather jacket.
Conjunctive Adverbs used to concede:
- I always thought I could win if I practiced hard enough; still, I never won a race.
- My wife always told me I was a good cook; granted, I only ever made steak and eggs for us.
- I always thought I could climb to the top of that ridge. Of course, I’m thirty years older now.
Conjunctive Adverbs used to show contrast or change:
- Julie always thought she could be a dancer. However, she lost interest over the years.
- She broke up with me last week. Anyway, we had no future.
- He thought he could yell and scream at her with no recourse; instead, she slapped him with the back of her hand.
- The boy swung the bat with all of his might and missed the ball. It was, nevertheless, a fine swing.
- My mother never liked it when I played in the rain; rather, she made me stay inside.
- I typically didn’t bring my pocket knife with me; nonetheless, it was quite helpful last Tuesday.
Conjunctive Adverbs used to emphasize:
- Everyone knew she was the best archer. Indeed, she won every competition.
- I always knew he was a bad man. Further, he stole my money from my purse.
- I don’t think this is the right course; certainly, there must be a better way.
Conjunctive Adverbs used to show or illustrate a specific point:
- I was never really fond of big scary houses; namely, I was scared of the ones located on Elm Street.
- I was always fond of vegetables. Specifically, I love leafy greens.
- Jeff loved surfing. He was, for instance, always flying around the world to catch the best waves.
- She always seemed suspicious to me. She kept, for example, a list of all the items we had in our safe.
Conjunctive Adverbs used to summarize:
- Their task was complete. Finally, they reached the top of the mountain.
All in all
- I’m not sure if we’ll ever know; all in all, there is a lot of information to sort out.
Conjunctive Adverbs used to signify time:
- The air was clean that night; meanwhile, birds slept in their nests.
- I didn’t know that she could do that trick. Before, she would just lie on her back and roll around.
- The boys observed the guard; next, they made their plans.
- I always saw myself traveling the world; then, I grew old.
- I wasn’t feeling so good for the last three months; lately, I’ve changed my attitude.
- She couldn’t walk after her auto accident. Now, she’s running marathons.
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